How to prevent and thaw frozen pipes

How to prevent and thaw frozen pipes

All tips courtesy of the State Fire Marshal's office.


1. Let the water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent the pipes from freezing.

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2. Open your kitchen and cabinet doors to allow warmed air to circulate around the plumbing. Move harmful cleaners and chemicals out of the reach of children.

3. Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night.

4. If you're going away, leave the heat on in your home. It should be set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.


1. Locate the area of the pipe that might be frozen. The most likely places include pipes running against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

2. Keep the faucet open.

3. Apply heat to the frozen section of pipe using an electrical heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or by wrapping the pipes with towels soaked in hot water.

DO NOT USE a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or any other open flame devices.

4. Apply heat until the water pressure is restored. If you cannot find the frozen section, call a plumber.

REMINDER: Always be sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home.